BAZALGETTE, JOHN, army officer and colonial administrator; b. c. 1784 in London, England, son of Louis Bazalgette; m. Sarah Crawford Magdalen (her surname is not known), and they had at least 15 children; d. 28 March 1868 in London.
Descended from a French noble family which settled in England in the mid 18th century, John Bazalgette had already served with the British army in India, Egypt, Jersey, and Bermuda before arriving in Nova Scotia with the 99th Regiment in 1811. From aide-de-camp to Sir John Coape Sherbrooke*, Bazalgette advanced to a variety of staff appointments of which the principal were major of brigade at Halifax (1816–41) and deputy quartermaster-general and acting deputy adjutant general of Nova Scotia (1841–54). He became a major in 1819, a lieutenant-colonel in 1837, and a colonel in 1851. His seven youngest sons also entered the British army, introduced by clerkships in the brigade office or by purchased commissions, and two of his daughters took officers as husbands.
Bazalgette made only one six-month visit to England during 43 years of residence in Nova Scotia. His two eldest sons, Herbert Sawyer and John Van Norden, played brief but active roles in the Halifax business community in the 1830s and 1840s, where Bazalgette himself was a small investor in property and insurance and a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia. A nominal supporter of mainly Anglican-sponsored charities, he was also an initiator of such local organizations as the Halifax Athenaeum. Improvements at his residence, Belvedere, reflected his interest in agriculture and horticulture.
As senior military officer, Bazalgette acted as commander of the forces and administrator of the provincial government for Lieutenant Governor Sir John Harvey* from 30 May to 30 Sept. 1851 and from 22 March to 5 Aug. 1852. In 1851 Bazalgette dissolved the assembly, enabling the Liberal government to seek an electoral mandate to pursue Joseph Howe*’s railway policy. In 1852, in correspondence with the Colonial Office, Bazalgette firmly supported Nova Scotian views on the question of the controversial coastal fisheries. Conservative in outlook, he strove to advance provincial interests while fulfilling his first responsibility to the imperial government. In 1854, pressed by “weighty and irresistable claims,” he returned to London where he retired from the army in 1858.
John Bazalgette’s life depicts an unusual attachment by a British army officer to the military establishment and to a colonial city which it garrisoned.
PAC, MG 24, A17, 4, pp.744–47, 1076–79; RG 8, 1 (C series), 1009, pp.97, 124. PANS, MG 12, HQ, 24–43; Vertical